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New Years Resolutions

January 2017

New year promise 

I have a horrible feeling this may be similar to last years resolution, but I am full of hope that this year I will stop neglecting my blog and write a weekly post. I will spend less time watching ridiculous videos on Facebook and construct witty prose packed with my weekly news…

Jump for Joy

Talking of Facebook..

I have finally got to grips with FB advertising, and we were caught completely on the hop by the success of our pre christmas promotions, scrambling to process and ship all the orders in time. Thankfully we succeeded, and now have a fantastic system in place so everything should proceed smoothly from here on out. The biggest sellers by far were ‘Razzle Dazzle’ and Jump for Joy’
Two of my favourite paintings, I think they capture a sense of fun, and humour, and I hope give you as much pleasure looking at them, as they gave me enjoyment in their creation.

Razzle Dazzle

January sale “ARTSALE17”

The 25% off promotion will run until the end of January, please use the code above for 25% off all works on my website, prints and originals.

In the studio.. or not

The studio has become such an uphill battle to heat I have now moved inside, setting up in our garden room. I can’t tell you what a pleasure it is to think I’ll be able to work during the day without being cold. In fact I overstoked the woodturner so much I had to wear only a T-shirt yesterday. The dogs are also thrilled as they become markedly reluctant to ‘come to work’ over the past few weeks. 

On the easel

I am working on various commissions this month, as a bit of backlog has built up. On the easel are two portraits of same yellow labrador, a client has commissioned one for each of her sons which rather lovely, but presenting its own challenges. 
I’m also working on a series of local landscapes, my first landscapes in a decade. We had a period of spectacular light in November and every school run was, at best,  meandering as I stopped to take photos. 
I’ll leave you with some recent images
My cockerel 

The Bell Inn, Waltham St Lawrence

In progress

Tess, Labradoodle
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Choosing to be an artist

Is it a choice?

I’ve been asked recently, a few times, to have students or young teenagers for work experience. This is always as much of an experience for me as I imagine it is for them, as I see my younger self reflected in their faces, and their dreams. I wonder if I had spent any serious time with an artist in my teens whether I would have taken fright at the path I was choosing!
I didn’t stumble into being an artist, it is what I wanted to do from a very young age. I knew, with out doubt, that there was no other path that would give me the same satisfaction and happiness. That is not to say it was a choice without hurdles, my art foundation year at E.C.V. in Paris was at an art school largely geared towards graphic design and advertising, and I saw that this would be a more lucrative path. Luckily, I was hopeless at graphic design, and remained on my road. I then studied at Durham University, and watched my peers go on to quickly earn decent salaries in the city, and buy houses. I wondered if I should maybe get the ‘proper job’ that my mother kept hinting at. A brief detour into portraiture taught me a huge amount (the main lesson being that I was not a portrait artist).

‘Ivy Leaping’ Oil on canvas

Why I do what I do.

I think, it was clear in my head that I was unable ‘not’ to be an artist, that being prevented from painting and drawing makes me unhappy and frustrated.  I constantly have ideas and plans buzzing around in my brain, I see inspiration in the every day routine of life, be it winter light though the hedge on the school run or watching a wildlife programme on late night TV.
I realise I am fortunate to have known what I wanted to do, and to have had the support to achieve it, but it is both a blessing and a curse. People often say to me ‘Why don’t you paint such and such?’ or ‘Why don’t you draw only charcoals?’ The answer is that I can’t. I have to stay to true to what I want to paint, to my vision as an artist. If I try to paint to please other people I feel I end up pleasing no one, and in the end my art deteriorates.

 

‘Blaze of Glory’ Charcoal on paper

Advice for artists starting out

One of the bloggers I read regularly, Making a Mark by Katherine Tyrell, posted this great link to the 2103  BP Portrait  winner Susanne du Toit’s Top Ten Tips for being an artist. They resonate with me, and I think I will pass them onto the work experience students.
The other piece of advice that I read somewhere recently was “Learn to live on less” and it struck a chord. Most artists will never earn a fortune, or get serious recognition, but they will be an artist, and that is reward in itself.

‘Up, up and away’. Charcoal on paper
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Looking back, looking forward.

2013 has been a great year.
I think at the outset I was determined it was going to be a good one. 2012 had been pretty shit, I badly broke my ankle, and then, having recovered from that, was diagnosed with cancer. There seems to be a general view that skin cancer is somehow a less dangerous form of cancer, more of a cosmetic irritation. Which I admit, was probably a view I also held. (Got a dodgy mole – just get it chopped off; problem solved.) Turns out, that’s not how it works, and skin cancer is as frightening a black hole to look into as any other cancer. I was lucky.

So, my aims for 2013 were to get fit and healthy, and to acquire an agent/gallery in London, plus at least one other in the UK.
I also wanted to grow my ‘brand’ through PR, social media, retail outlets, and by entering a selection of Art competitions. People always seem surprised when they ask me about my daily working life how much time is spent away from the studio, but being successful as an artist is largely about being successful as a business. No one is going to wander into your studio and buy enough art to warrant you to pay tax. So it was a happy moment taking this photo of my picture “Ivy Leaping” in prime position in the window of Oil & Water in Wandsworth, another goal ticked off the list!

Oil & Water Gallery, Old York Road, SW19

I also signed up with The Stockbridge Gallery in Hampshire, and managed to get into the BBC wildlife artist of the year finals. It has been clear through my work that I’ve managed to rediscover sense of joy, that I think had been noticeably absent.
I’ve tried to be bolder, more experimental and use greater colour than ever before, and have found that this has seeped out of the studio and into what I eat, what I wear and my outlook on life in general.

“Over the last”

I am excited about 2014, about the opportunities and possibilities that lie ahead; my solo show with Oil and Water Gallery in June 2014, the competitions coming up, and of course, the many and varied people that I so love meeting in the course of work. I feel very blessed (well, except for the tax bill obvs!)
Happy New Year

Me, wearing my favorite new jumper!